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  • Writer's pictureBarbara Byers

Living by Grace

In The Cost of Discipleship Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote that discipleship is simply the reception of grace. Discipleship, the process of sanctification so that we can be more like Jesus, really begins by receiving grace. What a relief from striving, and what a beautiful invitation to us.


John Ortberg wrote that “living in the kingdom is just one moment of grace after another,” recognizing that our lives are gifts from God, and knowing that he is walking with us and working within us. Grace is his empowering presence in our lives so that we can walk in a way we could not in our own strength. We don’t have to strive because that frustrates the grace of God (Gal. 2:21). We just need to learn to step into his grace so that he can act to accomplish what we could not possibly do alone. Grace makes the impossible possible. How we need this grace!


Grace comes to us in so many different forms according to our need and his riches. 1 Peter 4:10 speaks of the “manifold” grace of God, using the Greek adjective polupoikilos which means “marked with a great variety of colours, much variegated” ( How wonderful this multi-colored, multi-faceted grace of God is! Whatever we need, his grace is sufficient, even abounding (2 Cor. 9:8; 12:9). When we see brokenness in any area of our lives, because of our Lord Jesus, we can be confident that his grace will abound even more (Rom 6:20-21).


We know that it is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace (Heb. 13:9; 2 Tim. 2:1), so how do we receive more of the riches of this abundant grace? More empowerment to live in the kingdom of God now? Spiritual disciplines certainly help us to access this grace and to learn to live alive in his presence now. They are not discipleship themselves, they are training parameters, a means to position ourselves to receive and “grow in grace” (2 Pet. 3:18). Also, an attitude of humility attracts God’s grace because he opposes pride but shows more grace to the humble (Jas. 4:6). To receive grace, we need to humble ourselves and deal with any bitterness in our hearts that keeps us from falling short of the grace he is continually offering (Heb. 12:15). With all our hearts we can rejoice and trust him for this grace.


I close with the blessing of Paul: “Now may the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” 2 Cor. 13:14

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